Two Truths and Some Screens
Image Description: Malaysia dropped to 119th place in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index for 2021, down from 101st place in 2020. RSF cited legislation like the Sedition Act of 1948, the Official Secrets Act of 1972, and the Communications and Multimedia Act of 1998 as examples of regulations that restrict media freedom. The federal government presented the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No 2) Ordinance 2021 in March 2021 to prohibit the distribution of fake news, which it said might “allow the government to impose its own version of the truth.” Those found guilty of distributing “false news” risk a fine of up to RM100,000, up to three years in prison, or both if they are found guilty.
As a medium to be reported as fake news is mainly up to interpretation, the uncertainty in such a vaguely defined regulation would appear to inflict more harm than good. This would jeopardize Malaysians’ right to free speech and expression, as any news judged detrimental to the government will be penalized.
This piece is an interpretation of how the media is used to disseminate political propaganda in a country when political stability is in doubt. The media is out to hurt people and only help those in positions of power. Their face’s purity serves as a mask, concealing the gloomy, tragic reality that hides underneath.
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